Mission Accomplished in Dallas, Oregon
Mercy and I were scheduled to speak from Friday, February 8 to Sunday, February 10, in Dallas, Oregon. This weekend almost didn't happen. A family crisis caused Mercy to miss her flight on Thursday evening. She ended up coming on Friday morning, thanks to some very kind Alaska airlines employees, but I didn't know how to proceed when she missed her flight. It caused me to put off some things to Friday, like shopping for the food we needed for the cooking class.
On Friday, the looming bad weather had caused the entire city to go into crisis mode. I had never seen the grocery stores so jammed packed. There was a shortage of many of the ingredients that we needed for our tortillas and we had to go to more expensive stores to get quality organic produce for the class. I had originally thought that we would get to the church with plenty of time to prepare some of our presentations, but we arrived with only enough time to set up the cameras and audio system, before it was time to start the program.
I normally don't video record what I do, but Quo Vadis TV station had asked me to video record our presentations. As I prayed about how to do this, it occurred to me to ask my church for help. One person I asked was my trusted friend, Manuel, who is all about doing anything that is ministry related. He recommended that we ask Jonathan, one of the high school students in our small group, for help. Jonathan was apparently very good at videography and familiar with my camera, a Panasonic GH5. I felt that it was an answer to prayer, and with only a week until the program, it was all in the nick of time.
It had been one of those months where I was feeling discouraged and drained. With the added burden of managing the filming on top of the lectures and the cooking, I felt less prepared than I normally did going into a weekend like this. Mercy was putting out her own fires and neither of us had had time to try to practice. I felt very unprepared. Mercy and I stopped to pray together before we got to the church.
We also started our presentation with a prayer and as soon as I started speaking, I relaxed. Mercy and I shared our health journeys. I had never shared in such detail before and was kind of nervous about it. But many people came up to us afterwards and told us that they really needed to hear our testimonies and that it gave them hope.
We all stayed with Andy and Gayle Walker. They are a beautiful couple who have a lovely home on a peaceful 35 acres, with Ollie, their dog, and 3 cats. Andy is an amazing man. He taught their two girls how to do construction when they all built the addition to the original home. In the picture above you can see the kitchen that Andy and Gayle designed and built--the guest bedroom and family room are around the corner).
Gayle, a DIY type of woman, has some amazing skills herself. She cuts wood, takes care of their 16 chickens, grows much of her own food (the berries, apples, and other fruits that we had were all from their garden), homeschooled her two girls until they went off to college, and until their 13 beehives crashed after the nearby tree farm sprayed their trees, she harvested her own honey too. When we got to the home, we noticed a grow box on the counter where she was starting flowers. Her plan was to grow all the flowers that would be used for her daughter's wedding. In her spare time, she works as a swim instructor. I told her I would come back in the summer to learn basic life skills from her.
I love tabby cats and these were so sweet. We all loved hanging out near the wood stove!
Despite the snowy weather, there seemed to be only a few who couldn't make it on Saturday. We had an even bigger group on Sunday. But first, we had to make it out of their garage. Mercy tried to close the garage 3-4 times and kept triggering the sensor. I had to show her how it was done.
On Saturday, I shared about the Importance of EQ for the successful Christian. Alot of it was my own personal testimony. I don't always cry, but I did choke up that day. Somehow, it always makes me emotional when I think about how different my life used to be, or could have been, had I not fully given my life to God. In the afternoon, I talked about Eating for Optimal Health. I felt like my talk didn't go very well, but Mercy felt that it was excellent. I felt better to know that it was somewhere between excellent and terrible. I can see why God sent his disciples out two by two. Having a friend to encourage you is very helpful.
After the afternoon talk, we had a QA session that went on for at least an hour, it seemed. So many questions.
In the evening, after the sun had set, we set about to making tortillas for the next day. We made over 100 tortillas, pinto beans, opened a couple coconuts and prepped the veggies for the salsa and guacamole. I just loved hanging out with the ladies that came. We're definitely going to get together again! I don't have a picture with Rhonda (where were you!?), but here are Emily, Gayle, Mercy and Akhila. I love meeting genuine and generous people, don't you?
Sunday morning, bright and early, we drove the icy roads back to the church to prepare the fellowship hall. I gave a talk on autoimmune disease. It was only supposed to be an hour at the most, but the QA caused it to go for an hour and half. It was a good thing, because Mercy had just enough time to get the food ready for the demo.
The food demo went well. But lunch was better yet. People LOVED the food! Everyone said that it tasted amazing. One family came up and told us that it was the first time that their daughter had had food where she didn't have a stomach ache after eating.
It was very meaningful to have person after person tell us that they were so encouraged. One of the participants told us that she had contacted her church in Salem, Oregon and that she wanted them to invite us to do the same program there. So many people are struggling with immune disorders and want natural and safe methods to heal. I'm super tired this evening as I write this, but so happy to see that we are doing work that is making a difference.